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Making Eating Light FUN!

When I was in college at USC, I wanted to quit my Public Relations major three years into it. I was getting A's, but it wasn't that much fun. My teacher said, "You just haven't found your niche, stick with it." And I'm glad that I did because I love helping people promote their work. Today, I'm applying that to the $1000 diet. Find your niche while eating light.

I know that the Food Diary will report yesterday's meal, but I couldn't help telling you about what I just had for lunch. It was so good. Wheat pita stuffed with hummus, good tomatoes (you know, sometimes you can buy the kind that are a bit blah), a spring mix of baby lettuces and—are you ready for the secret ingredient?—a dabble of olive oil vinagrette dressing. Voila, Salad Pita Sandwich! With a side of carrots and red grapes. I found my niche.

I'm making drinking water fun, too. Hello, Perrier. (Spilling half of it on your lap like I did is not recommended if you're having lunch with company). And in the wonderful way that blogging research leads to unforseen cool knowledge of varying levels of triviality, Perrier has drink recipes! That's right, alcoholic and non alcoholic drink recipes are in their party planning section. Make me a Green Lizard, please!

John deserves to go first today because he did an amazing job yesterday. In my book, anybody who can avoid a sausage while at the ball park is either half nuts, or uber-committed to winning a $1000 diet bet. We'll have to take additional bets as to whether or not I can resist the same temptation tonight when we go see the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Day 11, John:
Breakfast: muffin, coffee
Lunch: Maria's chopped salad
Dinner: Turkey sandwich
Snack: peanuts
Dessert: nada
Excercise: nada

Day 11, Jen:
Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: greek salad and pita with pepper spread
Dinner: broiled veggies
Snack: carrots
Dessert: grapes
Excercise: mile to the coffee house - one way only

Note: I was inexplicably fatigued yesterday. I felt well rested, but just out of sorts. I'm figuring that my body is getting used to eating considerably less.

NON DIET NEWS: Get ready for seeing JenLeoLive! in a new format. I am meeting with a techie on Monday morning to transfer the content from Blogger to TypePad. I've been wanting to do this for a long time now. I chose Blogger in the beginning because it was free and because I didn't know if I'd be able to really update people consistently here, but since it's working, we might as well do it better. For those of you that are Blogger fans, please note that they are out with a new Blogger in Beta where you will be able to customize your templates and like Vox, make some posts available to friends and some just to family.



Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women?

That's what every body is telling me. I think I've heard that three or four times in the last 48 hours. From men, from women. It seems like everyone is siding with our hero, John. Or JCall as Gavin Smith calls him. And I've always kinda liked that tag.
Well, shocker of all shockers, I weighed in this morning naked as a jaybird and before a drink of water or breakfast and my new friend the scale says I'm down 6lbs!

Scale Report:
Starting weight: 185
Last weigh in: 182
Current naked weight: 179
New total loss: -6

Last weigh in: -3.5
New total loss: -5

I certainly don't look any different, and I'm sure that number is a fluctuating one. Because after I weighed I drank a big glass of water and ate half a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I only stopped halfway because it wasn't that good.

Yesterday, I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal ("Enlisting Cellphones to Fight Cellulite") about all the mobile gadgets that help dieters. Would you believe there are programs where you can take a picture of your meal from your phone, send it in, and then they'll analyze it for you and tell you the nutrition value, etc. Oh yes, it's true. Check out MyFoodPhone. At first this sounds cool, but then I thought, the food is already there. The decision comes from looking at the menu, once you've ordered and it's in front of you, it's there. You're eating. I mean, you could take a picture and someone could tell you, "hey! that's not good for you!" So then what, you only eat half? You tell yourself that you're only going to eat around the edges of the plate and leave the chunk in the center? Too silly.

I read that other cell phones have their mobile services, too. Verizon, Cingular, all for a few bucks a month, you get get calorie counters and what not straight to your phone. More on that as I dig up the info.

We still haven't gone to a Weight Watchers meeting or signed up, but I will this weekend! I'm excited to check out their Restaurant Guide to be sed in conjunction with their points system. That could be fun! Ok, now for the dirt.

Day 10, Jen:
Breakfast: coffee and grapes
Lunch: Raw veggie salad that made me say aloud, "I think I want to stay fat" and then take two bites of John's mashed potatoes. A yummy wheat grass and pineapple juice drink.
Dinner: Steamed veggies, mashed potatoes, herb roasted chicken and half a piece of a meatloaf, half an amstel light, and some Coke Zero, two waters.
Snack: iced tea
Dessert: fruit salad, some bitesized chocolate mints, 2-3 glasses of champagne, and two wheat fig newtons
Excercise: my arm got loose playing catch with John at the park. Then I did some sit ups and leg ups in the grass.

Day 10, John:
Breakfast: Nothing. maybe coffee
Lunch: Tasteless meatloaf and mashed potatoes
Dinner: chicken, steamed veggies and mashed potatoes for dinner, water and Diet Coke
Snack: handful of Cashews
Dessert: fruit salad
Excercise: Played catch with Jen and walked around 3rd Street.

And last but not least. Big thanks to Mark for the great dinner at poker. I heard other people complimenting him on the healthy options and good pics. Except for the few bits of candy which I briefly cosidered eating and not recording, I was excited about dinner because I ate enough to be full, but didn't take the seconds that I wanted. I ate the healthy bits, and there were just enough treats in the meatloaf and mash to splurge. But wait till we're on WW. We'll be able to eat everything we want as long as we're in the points.

Speaking of food and excercise. I'm going to go walk a mile to the coffee house for a salad. Maybe a sandwhich.

Current: Pasadena, CA
Next: PDX, EUG, SEA (Sept 1-14)


Side Bets Anyone?

It has come to our attention that people are taking sidebets on the John vs. Jen $1000 Diet. This is excellent news and we highly encourage it. Or, at least I do. It means more competition for us. But come on people, you have to tell us the stakes of your bet. Could it possibly be to eat a plate of veggies? Or maybe some crayons? Or is your bet all about the Benjamins. Tell us, pleeeeeaaaase.

We're jetting off to play in the media tournament at the Bike today for the Legends of Poker. And you know what Thursday means. Hopefully I can get enough done between the two events.

Before I give you the FOOD DIARY, I just want to say, Light cheese sucks. Do you know of any good brands? John is thanking me when I deliver him a plate of Light Swiss cheese from Trader Joes, and I am in the other room, scrunching up my face as I quickly put it in my mouth, then savor licking every last salt particle off my Light Wheat Thin. Sixteen of them to be exact, because that is a serving size. Mmmm Light Wheat Thins.

Now for the home cookin':

Day 9, Jen:
Breakfast: Americano and grapes
Lunch: Greek salad with one piece of olive break toast, half an oatmeal cookie
Dinner: Pineapple chicken over brown rice with a chunky mixed green salad
Snack: Light Wheat Thins and light cheese (no wine!)
Dessert: frozen cherries
Excercise: 2 mile RT walk to the coffee house

Day 9, John:
Breakfast: nothing, just coffee
Lunch: Subway turkey salad
Dinner: Pineapple chicken over brown rice with a chunky mixed green salad
Snack: Triscuits with light cheese
Dessert: nothing!
Excercise: full work out at the gym

I like how John doesn't tell me he worked out at the gym until the next morning when I have to do my report. The house of pain!
Ok, we're off.



The Decision to Eat Out

For me, it was an easy one. Let's go! "Must have social contact," I said with a neanderthal accent. But there was some hesitation in John's voice. It was Shiki. A standing tradition among his friends that if one of them said "Shiki!" the call had been made, and all must come for sushi. (Or you just don't reply and then they figure out you're NTG - Not That Guy). It was very hard to tell if John wanted to go. I'm pretty sure he did, but his caution was all about the question of whether or not we could be disciplined at a restaurant this early in the diet.

We went.

And in the car ride over, we planned our meal. Usually, Shiki is all about sharing. But we are now renegades of all communal eating. John knew exactly what he wanted. Garden salad, spicy tuna, and something else. He was staying away from California rolls, anything with avacado, and the Salmon Tempura—at all costs.

I had no idea beyond the side salad which I knew wouldn't be as great as the salad at Octopus. But still, it had to be done. Filler food. Anything to keep us from eating what we really wanted, ahem, Salmon Tempura.

We feel like we did ok with our excursion. It could've been worse. It couldn't been much worse. I wanted the Caterpillar roll, two more beers, and oh the Salmon Tempura was talking to me. Staring at me lovingly. Adrian sat on my left and ate his plate stealth mode while I gazed back across the table at the full plate next to Mark. I wanted it. It wanted me. Mark even asked if John and I were going to take one piece each to keep it fair and light, but no. We said we wouldn't. That creamy warm terriyaki sauce... Idiots!

Before I left, Mark took me aside and told me the super secret to beating John. And it does not involve sending him nachos to the office. No, this is very natural and does not involve and infared machine. Look out John! I don't care how many people told me yesterday that men lose weight faster than women, I'm going to beat you.


Day 8, Jen:
Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: turkey breast sandy on multi grain, carrots, and grapes
Dinner: green salad, seared albacore, beef terriyaki and veggies, and one Asahi beer
Snack: wine and light cheese
Dessert: none!
Excercise: more none! still scrambling to finish writing assignments

Day 8, John:
Breakfast: nasty diet coffee cake
Lunch: lime cilantro chicken salad - yummy
Dinner: green salad, spicy tuna roll, rice
Snack: 8 triscuits, and diet swiss cheese
Dessert: none
Excercise: none

CURRENT: Pasadena, CA
NEXT: Eugene, OR, Portland, OR, Seattle WA (Sept 1-13)


$1 Bet

Not all bets have to be for $1,000. Yesterday I told my barista that if I came over with the car, she'd get an extra $1 in the tip jar. That's right. I'm only allowed to walk to A Penny For Your Thoughts. It's about a mile up the hill from us. As an added bonus, I told her that if I came in the car 3x in a row, the bet got upped to $2/visit.

John asked me to drive him to work today and I declined in an effort to make sure I get a walk in—and save a buck!

Current: Pasadena, CA
Next: Poker Home Game on Thursday

"If You Play, You Pay"

That's what my dad used to tell me, but it usually referred to events of indescretion. Still, that's what I think of as I'm working my butt off. I'm late on three articles and expect to turn them all in today. And it's all my fault since I made long overdue visits with friends a priority last weekend.

But, some of you are food diary addicts, so I'm here to give you your fix. So you know, I'm treasuring the simple quiet life in Pasadena right now and even contemplating cutting my Northwest trip in half next month. I mean, if I'm excited to load and unload my dishwasher, how could I possibly leave again for two weeks.

Day 7, Jen:
Breakfast: wheat muffin
Lunch: Salad trio at Corner Bakery
Dinner: Weight Watchers meal: chicken, broccoli, pasta alfredo
Snack: reduced fat wheat thins and light cheese - ICK!
Dessert: Cutie tofutti ice cream sandwich and pop corn
Excercise: nada, badada

Day 6, John:
Breakfast: wheat muffin, coffee
Lunch: turkey sandwhich and caesar salad
Dinner: Weight Watchers meal: Lasagne Bolognese
Snack: n/a
Dessert: cottage cheese with pineapple. A lot of it!

So, I bought us some WW meals for $2 each at Vons. John really doesn't want to go to the meetings. I said we should go to one, and then decide what is right for us after that. No doubt we'll both be doing much of this online. In fact, I just found this handy resource "My Favorite Weight Watchers Websites".

There is a meeting today at 5pm. We still haven't decided if we're going, but we need to at least get our points stuff started. I have to get back to work, but don't think for a second that I'm going to be day dreaming about our return to the home game in Cheviot Hills on Thursday. Our host has even said the dinner will be waist-conscious friendly. I'm always curious about what dinner he chooses for us each week, but this week I'm guessing even harder...hmmm....salads? grilled veggies? What will he do! I can't wait!

Current: Pasadena, Ca
Next: Eugene, OR (Sept 1-4)


Weight Watchers Fans Everywhere

What I neglected to mention yesterday was that there were two more references for Weight Watchers at Saturday's dinner party. Jon was currently on the points system and had already lost 9lbs in less than two months. My memory is foggy, but I think it was only one month. And kudos to him for saying no to the peach dessert. In addition, his wife's brother had lost 100lbs from WW! So, for those of you who thought it was just for women, think again.
John and I are going to start today. Hopefully he can look up an afternoon meeting as I am slammmmmmmmmed. We are both so ready and excited about this program.

Day 6, Jen:
Breakfast: chicken apple sausage scramble, home fries, a bite of coffee cake, coffee, and fruit bowl
Lunch: that was brunch
Snack: diet coke, almonds, grapes, water, vit water, Special K crisp bar
Dinner: what dinner?
Dessert: what dessert?
Excercise: hurting my knee on the gas pedal for seven hours without cruise control. BUT I can't believe I forgot to add this category as it is very important, and I want to rub in John's face that I did a four mile walk at Tennessee Valley cove on Saturday. So, begin the excercise category.

Day 6, John:
Breakfast: wheat muffin and coffee
Lunch: Chipotle beef burrito "wonderful btw" John said.
Dinner: what dinner? Burrito was Linner.
Snack: bubble water up the ass
Dessert: nada

Scale check:

Jen: -3lbs to 182!!!!
John: -2.5 to the unmentionable

Man is it good to be back in Pasadena.We're both working from the Great room, the windows are open, the street is buzzing with folks going to work. My workspace is clean, and I am ready to jam on it!

Current: Pasadena, CA
Next: Eugene, OR - Portland, OR - Seattle, WA (Sept 1-13)


I Heart Dinner Parties with Bloggers

I love a good dinner party as much as shrimp tacos in Baja and hitting home runs in a softball game. So yesterday I ditched the last night of the Book Passage Travel Writers Conference for a dinner at my friend HC's.

I firmly believe that the recipe for a successful dinner party is 80% company, 20% good food. My friends chose their guests well, and were even better hosts. Masterful really. The fact that the food was outstanding was a bonus.

I could go on and on about everything we talked about that excited me, but lets port-wine reduction the evening into this great observation from Jon, a freelance playwright. The scene: all of us sitting around the living room and HC at the keyboard showcasing each of the guests' blogs up on the 42in flat screen above the mantel. We were laughing and oohing and awing at what the others were in to when it occurred to Jon, "this is the new parlor game for adults." Ahhh, bloggers. Vain? No, just obsessed with oursevles. Oh wait, that's just me. His observation really cracked me up. Almost as much as the answering machine messages of Jon's dad talking to him about Mets games and UFO's. (Jon, if you're reading this, give us the link!)

It was liberating to be with other writers, and inspiring to listen to them talk about books I've never read and plays I haven't been to. The dinner was also a bon voyage to Emily who is leaving on a three week trip to France including Paris, Provence, and Burgundy. Molly, who writes for Yahoo Picks was an ebullient presence and bravely let us make fun of her at will for her broken toe. And right before I left early, Jenny showed us beautiful sweaters she'd made from a knitting machine.


Day 5, Jen:
Breakfast: swedish pancakes, one piece of bacon, strawberries
Lunch: chicken taco salad, iced tea
Dinner: the best appetizer EVER. proscuitto-wrapped fig slices, crackers with fancy yummy cheese, Plumicot and walnut salad, and some plate licking seemingly Tuscan chicken and pasta dish which I'm sure has a more formal name
Dessert: Peach tart

Day 5, John:

Breakfast: wheat muffin
Lunch: fried rice
Dinner: Mijares nachos with two Coronas

I really want to talk more about how meaningful it was for me to go to this dinner party, but I have to jet off to the next meal!

Current: San Francisco, Ca
Next: Pasadena, CA for TWO WEEKS!!!!1


Learning about Weight Watchers

So, it's pretty hard to watch what you're eating when you're on the road and visiting with friends you might only get to see once or twice a year. But last night I visited with one of my second families, The Lyons. The mom looked the best I have ever seen her looked. I've seen her dieting on and off for as long as I've known her, but she is really the most beautiful I've ever seen her look in the past ten years. I told her that and she gave all the credit to Weight Watchers

So, we talked about WW and I asked her if the meetings worked. She said yes, even if they were hoakey. Then she walked me through the point book and the point calculator.

The dad walked in and asked if I wanted a beer. I said yes if it was light beer, and Marcy gave me an invaluable tip. She said that she doesn't drink while she's on the diet, not for the points, but because if she does, it's easier for her to say yes to the extra food. We all know alcohol breaks down our inhibitions, but this was an interesting tie in that I found pretty useful and immediately connected to my fritos and oreos snack by the pool last night.

I've already been considering Weight Watchers because my cousin and one of my best friends lost 40lbs through their program. Now I have a third reference. But lets get to the Food Diary so you guys have something to laugh at.

Day 4, Jen:

Breakfast: fruit bowl, half croissant, americano
Lunch: half turkey sand, salad, iced tea at Intermezzo in Berkeley!
Dinner: chips, salsa, bbq ribs, coleslaw, corn on the cob, light beer
After dinner treats: Ben & Jerry's ice cream and another light beer

Day 4, John:
Breakfast: coffee
Lunch: Panera chicken sandwich
Dinner: orange chicken and rice

So, I'm ready to go home. I still have two more meetings today and one definite one tomorrow. And lots of work to do today. We'll see how we go. It wouldn't be the end of the world to go home tonight and stay in a WiFi hotel for one full night of alone time. We'll see. The BP Travel Writers Conference also beckons...

Next: Pasadena tomorrow


But it was a party....

So, yesterday I started off great. And then some other things happened.

Day 3, Jen:
Breakfast/Lunch: Ahi tuna salad
Snack: Steak fries, a diet coke, and half a cookie
Dinner: Pearl cous cous salad with green beans
After dinner treats: 2 glasses of red wine, 2 glasses of Tesoro tequila anejo, half a bag of fritos and 2 oreo cookies.

Day 3, John:
Breakfast: wheat muffin coffee.
Lunch: buddha's feast with rice (all veggies)
Dinner: small salad with about 10 triscuits.
Snack: - none.

So look who is being a show off. I'm not sure what to make of his unnatural ability to stay away from nachos and beer. Can it really last? Does he think he's all that? And do all these wheat muffin breakfasts mean that I'm going to return home to a big grouch? We'll know by Monday. At least I'm doing more walking than I normally do...

Sorry I couldn't update right when I woke up. Last night was the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. Tim Cahill was in conversation with Amy Tan. Then I stayed up extra late having drinks with Jill Robinsonand Tim Cahill out by the pool, worked this morning, then coffee with a friend, and then a radio interview in Berkeley for KALX. Back to work now, you'll find out what we ate tomorrow! :-)

Current: Marin
Next: San Francisco


There's No Diet in Road Trip

So, you like the food diary, eh? Cool. I didn't want to be like all of those other hot trendy celebrity bloggers with a food blog, but hey, you know how it is. I did ok today. It could've been worse.

Day 2, Jen:
Breakfast: pecan roll, coffee with half and half
Lunch: Thai veggies and rice with soup, half of a bad iced tea
Snack: iced coffee, cookie
Dinner: White wine, oysters in the half shell, salad nicoise
Night time snack: decaf iced latte
After dinner treats: half an Amstel Light, half a capuccino, 1/4 of a slice of cheesecake

Day 2, John:
Breakfast: wheat muffin
Lunch: hot dog at the ball park
Dinner: chips, salsa, cottage & pineapple

Well, now. It seems like someone from Pasadena is being a bit of a show off. Meanwhile I thought it showed considerable restraint for me to only have half of a light beer when I was celebrating a book release with friends I hadn't seen in a year. They were all knocking back Scotch on the rocks and pint size micro size beers, but me, no just a measly little Amstel Light. Ha! Don't buy that for a dollar. I can't have a microbrew beer if Im sharing a hotel room because I'll fart the stinky ones, and I couldn't have proper drinks because I had to stay up and work after the party. But anyway...

I had a wonderful walk in Golden Gate Park and my friend Lynn took me to the new De Young museum. It was a true treat to see San Francisco from a new vantage point (picture here). We walked in the sculpture garden, had a treat in the cafe outside, and even heard some man doing some singing overtones thing that sounded like a Tibetan monk in this art chamber with a huge open skylight. He kind of sounded like a didgeridoo and a baby in a stroller not yet a year old paid little attention to him as she flipped through the pages in her book, occassionally looking up at him with faint interest. It was a true treat to do that with Lynn, have a nice dinner with friends even if I was distracted by the upcoming event, and then of course the event. We had 55 some people and I should really write it up now for Written Road. What a lovely day. Thanks all who came and to those who sent emails wishing me well.

Current: Corte Madera, California (Marin)
Next: here all week

Did I say Diet? Really?

CURRENT: San Francisco, CA
NEXT: here till Sunday

Food Diary.
So, I'm sinking my teeth into a warm pecan roll and drinking a dark Ecuadorian coffee with half and half when I realized I'm recording this stuff. And here I thought I was doing good by choosing the SF Weekly's recommended Arizmendi "coop" bakery instead of some chain. Actually, chains are a little hard to find out in the Richmond in San Francisco. So, fess up time. Now we know why food diaries are so important to the process.
Day 1 Diet, Jen:
Breakfast: two pieces of wheat toast with lemon curd
Lunch: Gyro sandwich, a few fries, and a diet coke...I hardly ever!
Snack: iced tea, Starbucks cookie, half a vitamin water, a few bites of beef jerkey
Dinner: Half a bag of small pop corn, a few milk duds, water
Dessert: chips and guac and a margarita.
Good grief this is SO embarrassing!!!

Day 1 Diet, John:
Breakfast: two pieces of wheat english muffins, iced coffee
Lunch: turkey burger, a few fries
Dinner: chips and salsa, cottage cheese and pineapple

Ok, but what kind of excercise did John do yesterday, huh? I at least had my right foot up and down on the gas peddle for six hours because the rental car did not have cruise control.

Well, it's a good thing we're recording this. I'll definitely have to shape up. And you heard it here first before I went to lunch with Expert Insight and had dinner at the Left Bank before my event.

BTW, thanks for your encouragement on the diet in the comments. Otis, I cant believe that you were that much heavier when I first met you. I really never thought of you as being heavy. Did we meet before London? Re fast food, I like the occassional In N Out, but I'm not really into fast food on a regular basis. I had enough of that when I was a delivery driver back in the day for the glorious

Here are my biggest weaknesses:
half and half in coffee
cheese. mostly cheddar
ice cream

I can stay away from ice cream with more ease than I can the pizza. But for me, I have to start excercising. A legitimate psychic who works for the police said I'm going to have kids within a year. That means this body has got to get in shape. Not just lighter, but actually up the stamina and endurance side of things. For that, I'm really going to have to start working out. Ok, until tomorrow. I have 3.5 articles due in two days. Maybe all that brian power will burn some calories. And then there's talking tonight. All that talking.


Excited About San Francisco

I leave for SF in a few hours and I'm excited. This is a really special event and I feel so fortunate to get the chance to have a good show with Tim. I just hope and hope and hope that people come. If you are in the Bay Area, or know friends that are, please come and invite them.

Wednesday, August 16, 7:00 pm
Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

To celebrate the launch of What Color is Your Jockstrap, I am going to be "in coversation" with Tim Cahill, the man responsible for inspiring me into the travel book world. Tim is the founder of Outside magazine and the author of several books including Jaguars Ripped My Flesh, Pecked to Death by Ducks, Pass the Butterworms, Road Fever, and many more. He has inspired many travel writers into this business, and is a funny guy. We will be on stage talking to each other about our travel, the writing life, future plans, and hopefully putting on a good show. Actually, I'm pretty certain we can as we've already reached the level of palship of swigging beers, slapping butts backs, and calling eachother nicknames. Well, he calls me Boxcar Leo and sometimes Steve.

And it turns out I'll get to see some friends, too, so that would just be great. Because I don't live there anymore, I'm kind of on a rotation. Trying to see friends on this trip that I didn't see last trip. It's tough. I want to see everybody. But, there is work to do, too. I can't live my life like it's always a vacation, or can I?

THE WEIGH IN...YIKES! Yesterday I mentioned that John and I are competing with each other to lose some extra weight. Our $1000 bet. This morning, he called me into the bathroom. The look on his face was intent. I thought we needed the plunger again and was fearing the worst. But when I walked into our blue bathroom, there was the scale in the center of the floor—ready for action. He got on and weighed a pound less than what he thought he was going to be. I was five pounds over. Vegas!!! This is where it all began last year. So, strike what I said yesterday, I am now THIRTY FIVE pounds over what I was last summer, and that was a good ten pounds over an ideal weight. But ideals change. I'll be thrilled if I lose this twenty.

Listen here. I know some of you have mentioned that you don't really like me talking about me mentioning or complaining about the weight gain. But John and I are recording this on the blog so that we take it seriously, and keep the competitive level up. We want to have fun with this, hence the bet. Do I still think I'm a beautiful person? Yes. Am I a happy person? Yes. And I love my life and what I'm building at home and career wise. I also think that continued success is contingent on a healthy self esteem. And one's self body image contributes to their self esteem. Mine sure does. So, follow along as this three month adventure kicks off and watch a happy girl get even happier. And we're not talking about more poundage! Lets talk about feeling good, getting fit, and connecting with the outdoors!

Day 1: The Weigh In
Jen: Weighed in at 185. John says we don't need to show our real weight, but I'm not sure I mind. I want others who are trying to lose/maintain their weight to play along and share what has helped them.
Supposedly serious about losing 20lbs. Time will tell.

Ok, I have to pack. See you all tomorrow. Oh, and re the poker, I lost for two days worth of play.

Current: Leaving Pasadena, CA
Next: San Francisco through Sunday


A King Size Bed Bet

CURRENT: PASADENA, CA (today only)
NEXT: SAN FRANCISCO, CA (Tues night-Sun)

$1000 bet.
John and I made a bet today that is going to be fun to follow. First of all, we've both gained 20lbs of happiness since we met eachother, and I've one up'd him by being even 10lbs happier. Neither of us are thrilled with this love weight, and both of us could've used losing a few even before that. So, enough is enough. Our goal is to lose 20lbs each in three months. Nov 15 is the deadline. The first one to 20lbs wins. If that doesn't happen, the person who loses the most by Nov 15, wins. And the loser must put $1000 towards a king sized mattress. It'd be nice if we didn't need the extra room after we lost the weight, but we do. Loser buys the bed--or $1000 of it--no running off to the crappy $400 sale. And, John said that I should blog about it to keep us both accountable.

Home! It's great to be home, but pretty much a tease for me as I'm only doing laundry and the most urgent of tasks before heading up to SF tomorrow. Still, I love our little house. Even if it doesn't have a pool and an overhead flight path.

NEW Poker $$ Goals. The bed bet excited me. And I told John that if I lose, I'm paying it all with poker winnings. I've never been goal oriented with my online poker play, and connecting it to the other bet excites me. So, my goal is to make $25/day by the end of the three months. $2500. And I'm only going to do it with headsup play because that's what I'm best at. I know very well that I can't win every day. So, the procedure will be start off with a $11 heads up SNG, if I win, go up to a $20. If I lose, play another $11. If I win that one, play another. If I lose, stop altogether and wait for tomorrow. If I win the $11 and then win the $20, I stop. Make sense? Don't worry, I'll blog my progress with this, too.

I hope you've had a great summer and that no matter where you live I get to see you soon. Or at least catch up on the phone. Thanks for everything.

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A Big Life Ahead of Me

Current: San Diego, CA Today
Next: Pasadena, CA Monday, San Francisco, CA Tuesday-Sunday.

I thought I'd put where I am first this time around. It's been an emotional weekend for me in San Diego where I grew up. It usually is every time I come back, but the longer it is between visits, the more it gets to me. The concept of home. Wondering where my home will be. And knowing full well that it will probably never be anywhere else than when I'm in the presence of a few people whose love has moved me.

I always feel closest to my brother when he's reading my blog. It started when he was reading Written Road wile I was on my Sand in My Bra tour a few years back. Last night, when I first saw him at my Uncle Jon's retirement party one of the first things he said was, "I've been reading your blog, where've you been the past few days?"
"Driving here yesterday, and visiting with the family today!" We both laughed.
"You're starting to sound like a blog reader now, Jason." I said. "Addicted and demanding."
He laughed and agreed that he was kind of going through withdrawals.

So, here's where I've been:
Thursday: Staying at Paris Las Vegas and watching the last night of the World Series of Poker. Jamie Gold, a Hollywood agent from Malibu won the $12 million.
Friday: Took my friend Stephen from to the Original Pancake House followed by a shopping spree at the Gambler's Bookshop. Then it took me 5-6 hours to drive down the 15 to San Diego where I took a shower and went straight to bed.
Saturday: Breakfast at Cocos with my 85year old grandparents. Then Popo and I went and got our nails done and did some shopping before the retirement party. I also visited with my friend Heather who said, "Why didn't you fold that last hand?" surprising me with the knowledge that she and her brother had watched the PokerDome show on TV. When I left, her toddler didn't want me to leave. Another surprise considering I was terribly self indulgent and did more talking with Heather than playing with the kids. Guilt!
Sunday: Breakfast and Monopoly with Jacob's family. Good talks with Judy. And this is when it started. This was the tough part. Leaving and wondering about the rest of my life. Where we're going to end up, when we'll have kids, and am I really making the right decision by my consistent steadfastness to live anywhere but San Diego. John loved it here. The coastal air, having breakfast overlooking the Ocean in La Jolla. We talked about how to make our lives better and the interesting part about that was that he needed to do less to have a better life, and I just wanted to do more.

The sadness. In all post summer sentimentality, I started to feel the pangs of life. The desire to build an even more fulfilling future, and the saddening trip into memories when I spent more time outside. I miss the days when I had a suburau wagon 4x4 with a Thule bike rack on top. When I'd go camping in Yosemite with friends. When I'd make banana nut bread and go for a hike that I was barely fit to make. When I'd bike. We were having lunch above the La Jolla cove, watching the kayakers, swimmers, and boaters. I wondered if I'd ever make the effort to do that if we lived here. I'm absolutely certain that I'd be happier if I could be outside more, but connecting A to B is sometimes the hardest part. I love dancing, too. But I dare you to try and get me out there without four drinks or the jaws of life.

The good part. The good part is that life is spot on right now. Everything is great with John, and I am truly blessed to have him in my life. We both feel very fortunate. But I swear it's a beast of a job not to take my new life with him for granted. It is so hard. It hasn't been much more than a year, but already I have to think hard to remember how lost and unhappy I was before hand. My time in Europe, oh boy. I was a mess. But I still had so much love in my life. Jacob and Judy asked me to write a book about what I've learned from all the families I've lived with over the years. This time it made sense. I could mix it with my How Not to Catch a Man book and call it Last One to The Altar or Last One to the Labor Room. A comedic memoir of an unconventional woman.

Anyway, I could write and write, but another meal calls. We're off to a Prime Rib dinner to celebrate my Popo's 85th bday. Life is good.


Still in Las Vegas, August 7-8, 2006

We're still here. John is making plans to go home but can't leave until tomorrow morning. I am still here and will have to stay until I see the best suites in Las Vegas for my article. Ditto on the most expensive restaurants, but I'm at least allowed to do that by menus since I can't take any comps. So, I'm guessing I can leave on Friday. But I won't know if I'm headed to SD or Pasadena pretty much until it happens.

WSOP 2006 down to 27 players. Jamie Gold is in the lead. The media seem more concerned with everything wrong with Harrah's and Cardplayer coverage than they do what's atcually going on. This cartoonist did a fine job of pointing that out.
My friends that are blogging are Jay Greenspan for Full Tilt, Pauly for Tao of Poker, and the whole crew of Otis, CJ, Pauly, and Wil Wheaton over at PokerStars Blog. I'm doing pics and quotes on BreakfastClubPoker and PokerBlog. And of course we can't forget about my fave poker blog of all time, Wicked Chops Poker. Every day Pauly cries out in his best female voice, "I love Wicked Chops Poker," and I die. I have to tape that. Colin said they were thinking about having that play on their site when people click to it. Man, I 'd love that.

I want to leave Vegas on a good note. Even though I'm pretty fried and had the grouchiest of days yesterday, I'm feeling considerably better today. They're expecting a long day at the Rio as they go down from 27-9 players. Then tomorrow is a day off. But who needs to wait for a day off to have some fun? I'm trying to think of some fun things to do before I leave that will help end this summer on the good side of the memory banks. I'd like to go to the Charleston Lodge, have a chocolate eclair at Wynn, maybe have a nice steak dinner...and? Now I'm remembering my fave things. Pate on the balcony at Mon Ami Gabi, I've never been to the Verandah at Four Seasons, and I need to do some shopping at the Premium Outlets. Oh and btw the crew of Oceans Thirteen is in Vegas and filming. Wouldn't it be nice to bump into them?

Money on the upturn. For the first time in my life I could actually pay 4 months of rent and still have $$ leftover, and that doesn't count the checks that are waiting for me in the PO Box back at home, or the 3 more months of rent coming within in days. That said, I have a lot of travel coming ahead. But at least I don't have to worry for a while. Possibly until the end of the year. John is being very good about making sure I don't go blow the lot...damn him. ;-)

Coming up to San Francisco. I just used to book a car for my SF trip. I'm going to be having a fantastic event for Jockstrap where I sit on stage and have a chat with the writer that got me into travel writing, Tim Cahill. This will be a ton of fun as Tim and I have known each other for some years now via the Book Passage Travel Writers Conference. It'll be the event of the mini tour, for sure. I just wish Rolf was around. I really miss him. The thing is, because I don't live in SF anymore, I'm staying longer so I can visit. Now I just need to tell people I'm coming! I'm excited to drive and have some alone time after having none for the past 4 weeks. It'd even be nice to stop somwhere along the way, but where?

Ok, that's all for now. Thanks for following a long.

Current: Las Vegas
Next: San Diego (Aug 12-13) , San Francisco (Aug 15-20)


Day 19-22, August 3-6, 2006

We've left the house. In search of good sleep we went to the Golden Nugget for a few days. It coincided nicely with a day off from Main Event play at the Rio, and I couldn't have needed it more. I played in a breakfast tourney at the MGM with Amy Calistri and Tim Lavalli, then joined Jay Greenspan and Tuscaloosa Johnny at the Venetian after $100 at Pai Gow and Blackjack. The Venetian wouldn't open a table for us to play mixed games, but Caesars would so we walked over there. The we were joined by Otis, CJ, Bad Blood, Ryan, and Wil. Amy tells all about it on her personal blog, "What Bloggers Do on their Day Off." It was a super fun afternoon but Pauly and Change100 were definitely missed. So after this good time we went back to the House of Cards with a positive attitude, only for John to have his worst night of sleep yet. Jay has an extra room in his apt, the master bedroom no less, so we'll be bunking here for the remainder unless we decide we want to get a bit of the gamble on before we leave on the 9th or 10th.

Friends to note.

Jeremy from Canada went home. But I was lucky to get in a meal with him beforehand. He used the majority of his Venetian comps on me at the Grand Lux Cafe. Too nice.

Marty Feijo cashed in the Main Event.
Marty hung in there till last night and must've cashed for at least 40k.

Michael Martin from the House of Cards lasted longer than anyone in the house. He cashed in the 40k bracket.

I'm still doing a bunch of things on all my fronts. But I was able to catch a few funny photos. One of a Harrah's person spilling Daniel's chips, and another of Daniel signing a woman's tattoo on her ass. I have not been stalking Daniel, I just happened to be right there when both things happened.

Right now the question is when is the next WSOP day off? They were supposed to go from 600-300 yesterday, but instead went from 481-135. Everyone is wondering what is going to happen. Meanwhile, I'm building more websites and planning some book tourage for What Color is Your Jockstrap? Big thanks to Alex Brady and Harold Check who have helped me with Jenopolis.


House of Cards: Day 16-18, August 2, 2006

The last few days are a blur. Here are some bullets that I can remember:

John busted out of the Main Event on Day 1, Set over Set
. There were a few guys from our house left going into Day 2, but I don't know if any of them survived the long night.

The parties continue. Last night it was SunPoker at the gargantuan Palazzo suites at the Rio. I met the editor I work with at BLUFF, but it was a short conversation. No drinking pals so we left to have dinner at The American Grill. Tonight there are parties for Party Poker at MGM Grand. I need to go because I'm writing for their blog,

We left the frat house. There is as much work now as we can churn out, not to mention my pressing Forbes Traveler articles and getting woken up at 3am just isn't ok anymore. There's nothing we can do about it as we are the only ones on the 7am-midnight schedule. Can't fault the others for wanting to enjoy themselves, we're the odd men out. We just picked the worst room in the house, plain and simple. Lesson learned. And besides that, we're old. If we decide to work the WSOP again next year, we'll be getting a condo close to the Rio like Amy and Tim did. But that's next year. Way too early to plan that. I don't want to think about anything past the Aussie Millions in January.

I'm quickly recovering. After waking up two days in a row grouchier than all get out (I can't believe I've hit the wall on our 5 week stay before John has), I woke up fine today. We're at the Golden Nugget and as much as I'm mad at them for ripping out their cool vintage Vegas pool, I do really enjoy the rooms here. Besides the fact that they're only $59/night, they just suit me. The wall hangings are of vintage India and the floral prints remind me of the Bangkok Oriental. Even though we're on the cheap they still have hair dryers and respectable soaps. And I love the vanity table. High speed internet? Of course. Did I say this was only $59/night? Yep. But this isn't why I'm happy again....

Golden Nugget has an awesome poker room.
The GN redid their poker room—and it's gorgeous. Only three weeks old, being in it feels like you're part of the club. It even smells new. Furnished in deep browns with Chenille-like chairs and big comfy tables with drink holders, the staff, and the players were friendly. Jay Greenspan, author of Hunting Fish, came with us last night and I got to watch him in action. He totally pushed around our first "must move" table and then continued to build his stack our next table. John left first, Jay left at 2pm after winning a full buy in, and I hung on till three in the morning. I finally got to have my happy hour I've been wanting. I drank red wine, had good travel talk, and enjoyed the admiration of the big stack at the far end of the table. Quite possibly the best $275 I've spent in a long while. Ahhhh.

Ok, now back to real work. Everyone gets a day off tomorrow, so I'll be planning a fun field trip and seeing who's game.

I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Current: Las Vegas, NV
Next: San Diego (Aug 12-13), Burbank, San Francisco (Aug 15-?) Oregon (first week of September) Seattle (second week of Sept)

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